The Crime Readers' Association

William Shaw

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William Shaw writes the Alex Cupidi series set in Kent and writes thrillers under the pen name GW Shaw.

The New York Times has called William Shaw’s series of detective books set in late sixties London “an elegy for an entire alienated generation.” Featuring DS Cathal Breen and the brash young constable Helen Tozer, they are set against the cultural and political revolution of the times. The Barry Award nominated A Song from Dead Lips was picked by Time Out as one of the crime books of 2013; The Daily Mail hailed A House of Knives as “a distinctive British crime drama, which benefits from a clear moral sense”. A Book of Scars, was picked by The Sunday Times as their Crime Book of the Month, and subsequently as one of the picks of the year. On the release of the fourth in the series, Sympathy for The Devil, the Daily Mail said, ‘Shaw goes from strength to strength, while making it all seem effortless.’

A standalone novel The Birdwatcher, set in Kent and Northern Ireland, and was his first longlisting for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year; it was hailed as “a contender for thriller of the year” in The Sun. His books have also been shortlisted for for a Barry Award, and the CWA Historical Dagger and long listed for the CWA Gold Dagger.

Salt Lane, also set in Kent, launchee a new contemporary series featuring DI Alex Cupidi, followed by Deadland, Grave’s End and The Trawlerman.

Before becoming a crime writer, William Shaw was an award-winning music journalist and the author of several non-fiction books including Westsiders: Stories of the Boys in the Hood, about a year spent with the young men of South Central Los Angeles, Spying In Guru Land, an account of year spent joining religious cults, and A Superhero For Hire, a compilation of columns in the Observer Magazine.

Starting out as assistant editor of the post-punk magazine ZigZag, he has been a journalist for The Observer, The New York Times, Wired, Arena and The Face and was Amazon UK Music Journalist of the Year in 2003.

In 2021 he was the initiator of a six-month community pop-up shop in central Brighton, The Book Makers, working with the charity Creative Future and Goldsboro Books. The Book Makers featured established writers working alongside under-represented and emerging new authors.

Working with online retailer Bert’s Books he also runs Reading Party, an online event in which readers and authors read new books aloud together.


Books by William Shaw

  • Sympathy for the Devil Sympathy for the Devil


  • Salt Lane Salt Lane


  • A Song From Dead Lips A Song From Dead Lips

    Hive Amazon

  • A House of Knives A House of Knives

    Hive Amazon

  • A Book of Scars A Book of Scars


  • The Birdwatcher The Birdwatcher


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